Publications by authors named "Elizabeth R Van Dolah"

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Employing a socio-ecological systems approach to engage harmful algal bloom stakeholders.

Aquat Ecol 2016 Sep 11;50(3):577-594. Epub 2015 Dec 11.

Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences, 701 E. Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21202, USA.

Harmful algal blooms (HABs) pose substantial health risks to seafood consumers, drinking water supplies, and recreationalists with apparent increases associated with anthropogenic eutrophication of freshwaters and coastal areas. Attempts to intervene in these blooms can be met with reticence by citizens, non-governmental organizations, and officials, often due to local perceptions and beliefs. Hence, the social sciences have an important role to play in HAB research and mitigation. Much of the social science HAB research to date has focused on how best to communicate associated risks and appropriate behavioral responses to affected local communities. The emphasis has been on the direct human impacts, particularly in the areas of health outcomes and identification of any sociocultural and economic barriers to proposed mitigation. While this focus is warranted and valuable, there is also a need to understand HABs as part of a larger human-environmental coupled system, where blooms trigger a wide range of cultural and behavioral responses that are driven by how blooms impact other social and ecosystem dynamics. The research presented here describes a case study of a bloom in a lake in the Chesapeake Bay watershed where anthropologists worked with HAB researchers. The results of this interdisciplinary collaboration show that approaching the bloom and mitigation within a 'socio-ecological systems' framework provides stakeholders with a range of rationales and approaches for addressing HAB mitigation, enhancing both short-term successes and longer-term opportunities, even if is still present in the lake.
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September 2016